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Education Matters: Nice to be clad with some free time

September 09, 2010|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

When I stopped teaching, I knew there would be some things that I would miss, but I also knew there were things that I would not miss at all. Let me share just a few on both sides.

Most of all, I'll miss the kids. They kept me on my toes by making me think, they provided a constant source of novelty, they challenged me daily, and they never failed to make me laugh. I'm physically feeling every bit of the 61 years of age that I am, but all of those beautiful children over the years have kept me young at heart.

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I found out early that I made a very good decision in choosing teaching as a career. Every year for me was a new love affair with the 150 kids I'd get to know in the space of 10 months. That may sound a little over the top, but it happens to be true, and I am deeply grateful to a profession that has given me so much in return for my efforts on behalf of all the students I've taught.

I've thought often of a movie line that comes at the end of "Good-bye Mr. Chips," which never fails to bring tears to my eyes. The old schoolmaster at an all-boys private school is recalling his 50 years of teaching, and a colleague sadly comments that the old boy never had any children of his own.

"Oh, but you're wrong," replies Mr. Chips. "I've had thousands of children, and they're all boys."

I will miss being a part of the lives of kids still young and undecided about the ways of the world. I'll miss touching minds with the brightest and, in a different but equally satisfying challenge, trying to coax an original thought from the children whose time to shine is yet to come.

There are many colleagues I'll miss seeing each day, but I know also that I have made friendships of fellow teachers that will be with me for a lifetime. I have found that I am always at home in the company of other teachers wherever I go. Our politics may differ, our personalities may clash, our methodologies may vary, but there is an undeniable kinship we share that comes from a common collaboration of youth and age.

And now for a few things that I won't miss.

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